Morita's New Film

Stephen Cremin asianfilmlibrary at
Sun Apr 18 19:27:04 EDT 1999

Why is Morita not acknowledged internationally?

Well, Tony Rayns was extremely negative in his "Time Out" Berlin 
report, describing it as one of the most "ugly and repellant" 
thrillers in recent memory.  Personally I loved it, as did most of the 
people I discussed it with in Berlin.  Derek Elley did give it a great 
review in "Variety".  When Alan Stanbrook ("The Economist") praised it 
in Hong Kong, he was attacked with a "there's no accounting for taste" 
comment from someone who hadn't seen the film.  And I think herein 
lies the problem.  Morita has fallen out of favour, so the film was 
going to be disliked anyway by the dinner party crowd who like to 
control Asian film.  They like the image that Morita was once a great 
director who went commercial.  The two can't coexist.

Did any KineJapan readers catch the official Korean remake of Morita's 
"Lost Paradise" starring Shim Hye-Jin?  I hear it was pretty 
disappointing, although I didn't really care for the original.  
Interestingly, the biggest film in Korea in the latter half of 1998 
was E J-Yong's fabulous "The Affair", an original script. Perhaps a 
lesson that culturally specific works don't really work when remade.

Stephen Cremin

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